Discussion 4: SDOH development of illness

What are social determinants of health? Social determinants of health relate to the conditions of the environment in which people live. With this, comes the understanding that these living conditions vary considerably and are unbalanced throughout the United States as well as the world . This means that access to quality education, health care, affordable housing, and job opportunities aren’t available or aren’t adequate to everyone and contribute to lower quality of health/wellness. The focus on social determinants of health is to close these gaps and provide healthcare equality for all populations.

How do social determinants of health contribute to the development of illness? Social determinants of health contribute to the development of illness due to the unbalanced access of healthcare. This takes many forms and may be due to language barriers, financial constraints, or lack of insurance; among other things. Even thinking about topics such as stress and safety come into play here. How can we expect health equality to be uniform throughout America if we have communities with garbage littering the streets, gang violence, and lack of public safety. This lends itself to why some areas of the United States are healthier and makes it apparent that change is needed.

What is a communicable disease chain? A communicable disease chain offers the steps that are required in order for communicable diseases to spread. The focus of our attention in the healthcare field is ways that we can break the chain and thus prevent the spread of communicable diseases. The six “links” of this chain include the following.

Etiologic Agent-which is the infectious agent that causes the disease.
Reservoir-The area where the infectious agent lives and multiplies.
Port of Exit-How the infectious agent leaves the host or reservoir.
Method of Transmission-How the infectious agent moves from the reservoir to a new host.
Portal of Entry- The way in which the infectious agent enters the new host.
Susceptible Host-A human or animal organism that accepts the infectious agent.

Are there steps that a nurse can take to break a link within the communicable disease chain? Give a specific example. One of the biggest measures that can be taken is to wash our hands and make sure your hands are free of cuts.By washing our hands, we are breaking the chain of infection at the point of transmission. Furthermore, by making sure our hands are free of cuts we are taking this a step further and protecting ourselves by preventing a portal of entry of infections disease to enter our bodies. Thus, both of these measures provides for two different layers of protection.

An example of this can be noted with the prevention of influenza, which can be contracted when a non-infected person comes into contact with a contaminated surface. By washing our hands, we are effectively removing that contaminant from our hands before it moves into a poral of entry, such as a cut on our hands or by touching our eyes, mouth, or nose. This can then effectively prevent its spread to others and ourselves.